Orange County Soccer Club vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
2017 USL Regular Season (Week Seventeen)
Starfire Sports Stadium, Seattle, WA
Sunday, July 16 – 2pm PST
Irvine, Calif. (July 13, 2017) Orange County SC must bounce back quickly following their draw against Phoenix Rising FC. Orange County walked away from the game with a solitary point after late dramatics from Didier Drogba scoring off a free kick in the dying seconds of match. Orange County look ahead to face a familiar opponent in Seattle Sounders FC 2 who visited The Orange County Great Park only weeks prior. Barring the final seconds of the match, Orange County will try to execute their game plan against Phoenix in a similar fashion up in Seattle.
The match against Phoenix got off to a slow start, mostly because of quality defensive play rather than a lack of offensive execution. Both teams kept the ball for good spells of possessions but were unable to break down the backlines. In the first half many chances came from set-pieces, shots from distance, or crosses whipped into the box. Phoenix was able to mount the initial offensive pressure through Victor Vasquez and Omar Bravo. Bravo was able to get on the end of Vasquez’s services but goalkeeper Charlie Lyon and the Orange County defenders were able to equal the task whenever they were called upon. Set-pieces for Orange County have been both a place of strength and weakness. In an attempt to seize those opportunities, anytime Phoenix had a free kick, Didier Drogba took it as an opportunity for an attempt on goal. In the 40th minute Drogba lined up a free kick about 40 yards from the net. Lyon scrambled backwards just in time to tip the ball over his goal.
Orange County was forced to make two first half substitutions due to injuries. Carlos Alvarez and Oscar Sorto exited the game for Monday Etim and Soloman Wbias respectively. Orange County exerted its dominance on the game in the second half. Phoenix keeper Josh Cohen dealt with numerous shots, but most came from non-troubling distances outside his keeper’s box. Roy Meeus scored the first goal in the 84th minute off a free kick after Cohen illegally handled the ball on the bounds of his 18 yard box. Phoenix needed a change and following the free kick make two offensive substitutions. The increased numbers thrown forward caused Orange County to give up a foul on the edge of their box. Drogba scored this free kick in the dying embers of the match to bring the two teams level.
Orange County must reflect on the pivotal concepts from the Phoenix match in order to find success on the road up in Seattle. The Seattle Sounders 2 are a good team that will compete in earnest for 90 minutes. They demonstrated their desire to compete when they played at The Orange County Great Park. After being down 3-0 in the first half, Seattle fought back to bring the score within one goal on separate two occasions, but ultimate fell 4-3. The two teams are well acquainted and will be aware of what the other has to offer on the pitch.
One player in particular especially familiar with the Seattle squad is goalkeeper Charlie Lyon who played there the previous two seasons. Lyon expressed the personal significance of returning to Seattle where he started his professional career, “you try not to let it be more than it is, but whenever you play your old team there’s always a little extra pride in that. I’m hoping to get another win against [Seattle] this season.” It’s a distinct edge Lyon has going into this game to feel familiar in hostile territory. Orange County could gain some insight by drawing on his experience there as well as already being acquainted with the Seattle Sounders 2 side from the match earlier in the season.
Orange County SC Keys to the game:
ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY SOCCER CLUB:
The Orange County Soccer Club is Orange County’s Professional Soccer Team. The club was one of 12 founding members of the new United Soccer League (USL) in its inaugural 2011 season. The predecessor club Orange County Blues were the 2015 Western Conference Regular Season Champions and have reached the Western Conference semifinals of the USL Playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The club’s brand-new owner, James Keston, is the Chief Investment Officer of LARO Properties, and will actively oversee all operations of the USL club in Orange County. Keston is dedicated to transforming the club into a world-class professional soccer organization that focuses on the fans, players, and youth clubs of Orange County.
For more information about Orange County Soccer Club or to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.orangecountysoccer.com.
Kelly Salmieri: VP, Marketing & Community Relations, email@example.com, 805.844.0856